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Date of Graduation
Master of Arts (MA)
School of Communication Studies
Melissa W. Alemán
This autoethnography is both about feminist complaint and is a feminist complaint. Through embodied, mindful narratives and approaching institutional documents and personal artifacts auto-archaeologically, I detail the experience of being a woman engaging in feminist complaint following an experience of gender-based fear and the subsequent institutional response. In the wake of speaking out about a moment of unsafety in public and being disregarded by the police and publicly humiliated by my university, these artifacts are sites of identity negotiation and assist in memory work. This inquiry demonstrates that negative responses from institutional representatives and official documents are patriarchal in nature, a form of symbolic violence, and a source of secondary victimization. Furthermore, I discuss the ubiquitous feeling of unsafety women feel in public spaces, how that fear is perpetuated by the patriarchal underpinnings of society, and how these misogynistic principles apply to women’s wellbeing in online spaces, as well. In response to multiple instances of feeling unsafe, blamed, and disregarded, I share the totality of my anger and embrace the revolutionary power of women’s anger and the potential it has to create material change. To this end of creating change, I utilize comic frames to illustrate the absurdity of my interactions with institutional representatives and highlight the space for growth and change with how institutions approach women who have experienced gender-based violence and engage in feminist complaint. I conclude this thesis discussing methodological, theoretical, and practical implications, along with implications for empathy and interfacing with institutions, while acknowledging my positionality.
Mangan, Rachel L., ""I just wanted to feel heard": An autoethnography of feminist complaint and institutional response" (2021). Masters Theses, 2020-current. 85.